Bretha was dad’s colleagues’ daughter. She was 23 years old. A white blonde with the most charming smile my ten-year-old self had ever seen. It was the first time she and her dad were visiting Nigeria, and indeed the African continent. Before then, dad had told us how Bretha’s dad presumed Africa was a place where people still lived in huts with thatched roofs, where there were no tarred roads, and monkey swung on trees. Dad hadn’t tried to convince him otherwise. Instead, he had fuelled his anxiety as the time he would be coming drew closer by telling him we also ate worms straight from a baby’s buttocks.
Today is a special day for me.
I’m thrilled because a book whose concept I conceived about a year ago and worked to bring to reality over the last couple of months is birthing. My journey to the world of creating art through words was borne out a nagging desire to find my path in life. At some point, I was so discontented with my career path and where it was headed that I knew if I failed to take charge of the situation and find something I truly loved doing, I would sink into depression. I had to find purpose or die trying. It was that critical.
Every person on the planet has bad days and setbacks they are ill-prepared for.
Nevertheless, a setback does not have to define your future negatively. It’s what you do with yourself after the setback that determines if it takes hold over your life or not.
Understand that the most successful people do not advertise their setbacks and failures, they highlight their wins. This is true in any field and it’s obvious on social media.
If people were more open about their struggles and setbacks the same way they are about their wins, we would see more social media posts about time spent healing in alcohol treatment programs, or seeking help for overeating, relationship problems, and other issues.
He was due to arrive in a couple of hours.
Mum had worn her wig and that floral scent she reserved for those times when dad was coming from one of his regular trips.
“Guys, I know I promised we would go to grandma’s place this weekend, but I’m sorry that won’t be possible anymore…”
Before he finished, Ire had yanked off the arm that held him on dad’s lap and flung himself on the blue Persian rug in the middle of the living room.
My younger brother was only seven years old, but already, everyone knew about his legendary emotional reactions. He was quick to get hurt and throw a tantrum, but that was just because he had a soft heart.
You need a certain level of courage and dare-devilry to drive in Lagos. Everyone who gets behind the wheel on the streets of the populous city in Africa knows they need more than basic driving skills to navigate the puzzle Lagos roads represent. For the woman, it’s even dicier. Lagos roads are one place where your femininity is a disadvantage. Indeed, your first gaffe is daring to think you are capable of surviving the onslaught and mischief that is characteristic of Lagos roads; and that’s why you need a strategy.
We allude to the existence of a category of people who are working overtime to ensure we never quite reach those heights we are capable of reaching. In our mind’s eye, they are relatives; the bad guys who don the toga of blood to inflict pain as only they know how. Everyone has “village people”. It’s a staple banter on the streets of social media. When things are not going well or gaining the required traction, we are quick to attribute it to the wiles of village people.
We have been here before. We are here every year the reality television show makes an appearance. Anytime, the Big Brother social experiment hits our screens, the moral police are always there, waiting in the wings to pounce. It’s amusing to see how they are never tired of deriding a show they claim to loathe so much. I mean…if I hated something or someone, I’d pretend they didn’t exist. I’d do everything to avoid it and do a mental block. This concept is however alien to critics of Big Brother Naija.
I had quite a few vulnerable moments during my university days. Days when I struggled to juggle the demands of school work and life outside of school. Days when I loathed hostel life and the idea of having a roommate because a girl just needs to be alone sometimes. There were many challenges, and of course, there were good times. But I can never forget that ONE time I was constipated.
They are not mutually exclusive. Not by any stretch. Yet, it’s a wonder how some of the greatest critics have nothing much going for them by way of achievements. I have always said I’d rather be the one doing something (even if mediocre) others get a chance to criticise rather than be the one who’s always on the lookout for the mistakes of others. It makes sense to carry out even the most mundane tasks with unfettered gusto. It makes sense because the attitude and diligence with which we execute the basest of tasks is a reflection of how well we’d do if we took up more complex assignments.
We need to demystify death. That trepidation and awe we feel when we think about the concept of death is not doing us plenty of good. In particular, the idea that once a person dies, they assume a god-like status that forbids the living from criticising them is ludicrous. It makes little sense because memories are what they are and cannot be twisted or erased on account of a person’s demise. The controversy around this issue often comes to the fore when a prominent person—usually a politician or government official—dies. As soon as the news filters to the public, opinions on how well they lived while on this side are divided.